POTTER COUNTY — The Potter County voter registration office is expecting a lot more mail-in ballots than usual for the upcoming Nov. 3 election.
Sandy Lewis, director of elections/voter registration for Potter County, said as of Tuesday, the office has processed 1,169 applications to vote by mail.
In the November 2016 election, 541 mail-in ballots were requested by Potter County voters and the office received 485 of those ballots back. This past primary election, those numbers went up quite a bit, with 1,394 mail-in ballots requested and 1,107 were returned.
In Pennsylvania, there are two options to vote by mail. Any qualified voter may apply for a mail in ballot without giving a reason, according to votespa.com. An absentee ballot is for voters who will be out of the municipality on election day, or for voters with a disability or illness. Absentee ballots will require a reason.
Lewis has no concerns about voting by mail, but said it’s up to each individual voter on how they want to vote.
Registered voters can apply for a mail-in ballot online with a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or photo I.D. from PennDOT. They can apply online at VotesPA.com/ApplyMailBallot, or download and print the application and send it in. One can also be mailed to the voter.
Voters can also provide an email address to receive notifications about their application and ballot status, Lewis said.
Oct. 27 is the last day to apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot.
“(Voters) are going to want to get their ballot in — the sooner, the better — so that we have ample time to get that ballot processed, get the ballot mailed to them, they have time to fill it out and get it back to us via the mail,” Lewis said.
If the mail-in ballot application is accepted, voters will receive their ballot and instructions. To vote, voters will fill out the ballot, place the ballot in the “secrecy envelope” and then put the secrecy envelope into the official envelope, according to votespa.com. “Be sure to sign the declaration or your ballot may not count,” the website states. The ballot must be received by the county voter office by 8 p.m. Nov. 3. Postmarks are not enough.
If someone forgets to mail their ballot, they are able to bring their ballot to the Potter County elections/voter registration office, located in the Gunzburger Building, Coudersport.
“They have to bring their own ballots,” Lewis said; a wife could not bring her husband’s ballot.
If someone is unsure if — or how — they are registered to vote, they can check their registration at votespa.com. They can also call the county voter office and someone can help look up their registration. Voters can find their polling location this way, too. Lewis suggests double checking prior to Nov. 3. Oct. 19 is the last day to register or make any changes.
“I don’t want somebody to go to the polls and find out that they’re not even a registered voter in Potter County anymore, for whatever reason,” Lewis said.
For more information on mail-in voting, visit pottercountypa.net and click “elections/voter registration” under the “departments” tab, or call the Potter County election/voter registration office at 814-274-8467.